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EC gives excuses for inaction

EC gives excuses for inaction

Author: Pioneer News Service
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 9, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/168375/EC-gives-excuses-for-inaction.html

Hate speech CDs, Maneka complaint

With the Election Commission yet to decide the case of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav's inflammatory speech to run a "roller" on Varun Gandhi, BJP Member of Parliament from Pilibhit, Maneka Gandhi on Wednesday lodged a complaint accusing Lalu of insult and criminal intimidation. The EC is also considering cases against former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, BJP leader Jaswant Singh and Andhra Congress chief D Srinivas for model code of conduct violations.

The fresh case against Lalu for his alleged remarks that he would have "crushed" Varun Gandhi under a roller for his anti-Muslim speeches came after Maneka found the comments "derogatory" and complained to the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Badaun (Uttar Pradesh) to take action. The matter was later transferred by UP Police to Bihar Police since the cause of action arose in Bihar.

"As this matter (making remarks) does not belong to Badaun or our State we have forwarded the complaint to Bihar Police for further action", Additional Director General, Law and Order Brij Lal informed mediapersons.

In her complaint, the MP and Varun's mother said, "RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has threatened to kill Varun Gandhi by crushing him with a roller in front of a crowd of thousands of people and used derogatory words."

Stating that she came to know about the speech during her visit to Badaun, Maneka demanded a complaint to be lodged against Lalu Prasad Yadav under sections 504 (insult intended to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC and sought his immediate arrest.

Addressing an election meeting in Kishanganj in Bihar on Monday, the Railway Minister had said, "Had I been country's Home Minister, I would have crushed Varun Gandhi under the roller and destroyed him without caring for the consequences, for his hate speech against Muslims." Following the comments, the Kishanganj district administration had filed an FIR against Lalu accusing him of attempting to create communal disturbance.

While the Commission had been prompt in acting against Varun - it took just three days after the young leader's alleged hate speech to advise the BJP to deny him the party ticket - it has apparently been taking its time to decide on Lalu, Rabri and Srinivas.

After two days of the speech, the EC on Wednesday said it had received the tapes containing Lalu's speech and was in the process of examining them. On being asked about the status of the complaint against Lalu, Deputy Election Commissioner R Balakrishnan said, "The CEO has confirmed that a complaint has been received by the SP, Badaun. He is in the process of sending a report to the Commission."

But with the three-member Commission being unavailable, with Chief Election Commissioner on leave and another Election Commissioner on election tour, Balakrishnan hinted at a possible delay in sending out notices to the RJD supremo.

Speaking to mediapersons, Balakrishnan said, "The Chief Election Commissioner is on leave and one of the Election Commissioners is on tour. We will be able to inform (the press) as and when the decision is taken by the full Commission." He confirmed that the tapes containing both Lalu's speech and his wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi had been reviewed. Rabri had come under scanner for use of abusive language against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. An FIR in this regard is already pending against her in Bihar.

Meanwhile, the Deputy EC further informed that it had received replies from Home Minister P Chidambaram and senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh. "Both replies are being examined by the Commission," he said. While Chidambaram was served with notice for allegedly offering poll sops during a visit to Rajasthan for a security review meeting, BJP leader Jaswant Singh came under scanner for distributing cash during a public meeting in Rajasthan's Barmer district, where his son Manvendra Singh is contesting elections.

Balakrishnan, while responding to a question on AP Congress unit chief D Srinivas' provocative speech said that the Commission had received the copy of CD from the Andhra Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer and is under consideration. At a public function at Nizamabad, Srinivas had said that he would "sever" the hands of those who point a finger at minorities. Holding this statement highly objectionable, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sought to hold him guilty of model code violation for hurting religious sentiments of the majority community.

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